Optic disc and visual field changes in a prospective longitudinal study of patients with glaucoma: comparison of scanning laser tomography with conventional perimetry and optic disc photography

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Oct;119(10):1492-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.119.10.1492.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between optic disc changes measured with scanning laser tomography and those measured with conventional perimetry and optic disc photography.

Methods: In a prospective longitudinal study, we followed up 77 patients with early glaucomatous visual field damage. Scanning laser tomography (using the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph) and conventional perimetry (using the Humphrey Field Analyzer) were carried out every 6 months. Disc progression was determined by a procedure recently described by us for scanning laser tomography, with confirmed progression requiring repeatable changes based on probability limits for both the depth (using individual test-retest variability values) and size of change (determined in a group of 37 healthy individuals also followed up prospectively). Field progression was determined with the Statpac Glaucoma Change Probability Analysis. The agreement between scanning laser tomography and conventional disc photography was determined in a subgroup of patients.

Results: Patients were followed up for a median of 5.5 years, with a median of 12 sets of examinations with scanning laser tomography and conventional perimetry. Twenty-one patients (27%) showed no progression with either technique. Thirty-one patients (40%) progressed with scanning laser tomography only, while 3 (4%) progressed with conventional perimetry only. Of the 22 patients (29%) who progressed with both techniques, 10 (45%) progressed with scanning laser tomography first (median, 18 month earlier) and 9 (41%) with conventional perimetry first (median, 12 months earlier), while 3 (14%) progressed at the same time. Of the 16 patients with disc photographs that closely overlapped the follow-up, there was concordance between scanning laser tomography and disc photography in 13 patients (81%).

Conclusions: Glaucomatous disc changes determined with scanning laser tomography occur more frequently than field changes. Most patients with field changes also had disc changes; however, less than half of those with disc changes had field changes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Photography / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography / methods
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Field Tests / methods
  • Visual Fields*